James Ernest Powell

James Ernest Powell

RFM.ARC.292.2James Powell was a Private, regimental number 2785, in the 2/4th London Regiment and later in the 1/4th London Regiment. He joined on 21st September 1914 and stayed in that unit until 4th June 1916. When the 2/4th London Regiment were disbanded, and he joined the 1/4th London Regiment. 

He trained at Camp Folly in New Barnett and in Maidstone at Beech Hill Barracks in late 1914. His regiment was first stationed at Malta from January until August 1915 when his regiment was sent to Alexandria. In October 1915 they were sent to Gallipoli until the Evacuation of Gallipoli in January 1916. The regiment was then sent again to Alexandria until late May/early June 1916 when there were disbanded. 

Powell, like much of the regiment joined the 1/4th London Regiment. This Regiment was part of the 56th Division (1st London Division) and served in 1916 in France and Flanders, in 1917 at the German Hindenburg line and in 1918 at the Battle of Arras.

He was seriously wounded in March 1916 with a gunshot to abdomen and was operated on at the 43rd Casualty Clearing Station. On the 18th August 1916 a telegram from the Casualty clearing station is sent to his mother saying he has fallen dangerously ill and permission to visit him could not be granted. Letters followed on the 25th and 26th of August that he is progressing favourably. He sends a photo postcard of himself from November 1916 in his hospital blues at Sydney House. A second hospital blues photo postcard is addressed to his mother from December 1917 at Crawley Downs.
On 31st March 1917 he asked permission for leave to marry his sweetheart, Miss Winnifred Sharpe and additional 7 days leave. His letters to his mother are addressed Shepherd’s Bush and his letters to his sweetheart, Miss Sharpe, to Hammersmith. So, we know believe he was a West Londoner.

He carried a Church of England Temperance Society badge with his Dog tags, so we know he was Anglican and a teetotaller. He kept in contact with many of the people he met while in convalescence. Including the Matron at Crawley Downs, who sent him a photograph of herself in a letter. In the letter she says she is sending it as a thank you to all those in old ward who had bought her that lovely present.
He worked at C.P.O. R.A.F. in Woking as a clerk from 19th March 1918 till 1st April 1918 and then as a pay clerk from 1st April 1918 until 20th March 1919. He had worked as a Railway clerk before the war. He continued to serve in the 3rd Reserve London Regiment as a Corporal post-war. His regimental number then was 280793. He attended the Memorial to the London Troops in 1920 and a reunion dinner in 1924.